History of the Orchard Lake Philharmonic

Editor's Note: At the start of the 2015-2016 season, the OLPS Symphony Orchestra changed its name to the Orchard Lake Philharmonic.

January 19, 2003

Seven-hour Musical Open House given by Judy Moslak to thank all the people who were so kind during her rehabilitation (broke a hip and was confined to a wheelchair for three months). Most of the guests performed throughout the day, singing, playing piano, chamber music.

Judy began playing and performing duo-piano concerts with Lana Shulman, and went with Lana when she played the Brahms A minor Trio with Tim Nicolia and Norma Keil at Norma’s mother’s memorial concert given by the Detroit Tuesday Musicale. On the way home, Lana and Judy stopped at Luck’s Music and Judy purchased all the Bach and Mozart multiple clavier concerti, including all of the instrumental parts.

When people started asking when the next “Musical Open House was going to be?”, Judy began giving Saturday Soirees, in her living room, with friends from all over the area playing the instrumental parts, accompanying Lana and Judy on the Bach and Mozart concerti.

January 17, 2004 the Pebble Creek Chamber Orchestra (PCCO) was born (and named by Norma Keil).

Kay DeLuca was Concertmistress, as was Gerda Bielitz on occasion. Others who came to play include Nadine Deleury, Bud Zen Zen, Tim Nicholia, Sylvelin Bouwman. , Ruth Killeen, Sue Peeples and Judy’s Tax Accountant, Barb Goldman.

It was Barb who eventually wanted to form an orchestra that would meet on a weekly basis so that people from the community would have a place to learn, play their instrument regularly at a weekly rehearsal and enjoy opportunities to perform in concerts.

Judy approached her friend and boss, Linette Popoff–Parks, Music Chair at Madonna University, about offering the Pebble Creek Chamber Orchestra (PCCO) as a resident orchestra. They met with Jim Novak, the Dean of the Madonna University/Orchard Lake Center. They found a rehearsal and performance venue there.

Bob Libcke offered to help and initially planned to get support from the mayor of Orchard Lake (Hartsell) , who loved chamber music. Bob named the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Society (OLPS) and went with Judy on field trips in search of a venue at St. Mary’s. He also wrote most the OLPS Articles of Incorporation and By Laws. Unfortunately the mayor passed away and not a lot of progress was made after that.

After waiting for a couple years, Barb and Judy decided to finish writing and submitting the legal documents and move forward to becoming a 501 (c) (3) organization. Judy provided the financial backing necessary and founded the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Society (OLPS) so that Barb and community members like her could have a chance to play in an orchestra on a weekly basis. It was understood (and listed in the By Laws) that the previously formed Pebble Creek Chamber Orchestra (PCCO) and activities that Judy organized (Saturday Soirees and later FUNraisers and other unique programs) would be included under the OLPS umbrella.

Judy’s main goals, before and after OLPS was incorporated, deal with music education and community service. This includes providing (sometimes unique) performance opportunities for community members.

PCCO Conductors (at Soirees) include: Madonna Music Methods students (of J. Moslak); bugs Beddow, Susan Knighton, Kazimierz Brzozowski, Angelina Pashmakova, Dave Daniels, Steve Burian, Susan Mutter, Norm Logan, and Jeffrey Spenner.

11 students and eight adults (including Pauline Martin) have played concerti by Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Mendelssohn… for violin, viola, clarinet, cello and piano with the Pebble Creek Chamber Orchestra (PCCO).

Up until July 14, 2012, the youngest was Adam Brzozowski, age 12, playing the Bach Concerto in f minor in preparation for his appearance with the Macomb Symphony at the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts . Another 14 year old student played a cello concerto in preparation for her appearance with the Warren Symphony. Conductor Dave Daniels and some Warren Symphony members attended and performed at that Soiree.

Teachers who sent piano, clarinet and cello students include Nadine Deleury, Bud Zen Zen, Bibianne Yu, Pam Slomka, Ann Kretzmer, Pauline Martin, Catherine Rollin and Judy Moslak.

The PCCO accompanied the Madonna Chorale, under the direction of Dave Wagner at the Shrine Chapel at St. Mary Orchard Lake. Madonna University/ Orchard Lake Center. It was exciting to see our name in lights on the marquee: “Madonna Chorale and the Pebble Creek Chamber Orchestra”.

March 5, 2006 - OLPS officially became a 501 (c) (3) not for profit organization.

The OLPS Community Orchestra had 13 people at our first meeting in the gym at St. Mary Orchard Lake in September, 2007. Our first Conductor was Steve Burian (2007-9) and first Concertmistress was Julie Werner. Julie, age 25, was able to realize her dream of playing in an orchestra before she passed away on January 27, 2009 after complications from triple transplant surgery.

Even though she was very ill, Julie was able to join us when the PCCO recorded part of a sound track for a DVD movie: Trees, under the professional direction of Jeff Arwady, Mac Genius, and Mark Steinberg. This recording was done in Judy Moslak’s living room. The musicians were videotaped and are featured on the DVD jacket with clips on the beginning of the DVD.

The OLPS Jazz Orchestra had a wonderful first year (2009-10) under the direction of Joshua James. They participated in a Winter performance/workshop in Ann Arbor and gave a fabulous Spring Concert in Kresge Hall at Madonna University before most of the members graduated from high school that June. Right now, the OLPS JO is on hold since most of then were high school seniors and graduated that year.

Next came Susan Mutter, Conductor 2009-11 and Concertmaster Andrew d’Allemande. Under Sue’s direction the orchestra grew to number 65 and performed Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the Bach Brandenburg Concerto #4, Mvt. 1. We began rehearsing at OCC and then West Bloomfield High School, giving performances in Smith Theatre at OCC, Orchard Ridge campus. Kas Kasravi graciously offered the use of his harpsichord, which Sue programed in and Judy gladly played!

The OLPS Symphony Orchestra (name was changed in 2010) began its fifth season under the direction of Nan Harrison Washburn. Our new Concertmistress was Kelly Kaiser . At the end of this season, there was a huge split in the orchestra, with seven board members handing in their resignations and about half the orchestra migrating to form their own orchestra in Birmingham.

On June 3, 2012, Artistic Director Judith Moslak produced A GRAND Extravaganza! © (GRAND X ©) conceived and rehearsed on 12 pianos by a total of 45 participants. The project was jointly sponsored by OLPS and The Steinway Society of Detroit, Tomoko Mack, Artistic Director (who also conducted the concert). Location was Steinway Piano Gallery in Commerce, MI. Judy went to see the Steinway President, Tim Hoy about a year before the concert. She told Tim she would like to rent the recital hall and would need 12 pianos. Then she asked: “Should I continue?” Tim shook his head yes and the rest is history. The enthusiasm of the participants and Steinway was at a very high level through. The concert was a sold out/resounding success! It is important to note that Hammel Music/Steinway has always been a good friend to OLPS (our first FUNraiser took place there). We appreciate their support and encouragement of our “wild ideas”! We also look forward to future collaborations, hopefully as successful as the GRAND X!

On September 2, 2013, Judith Moslak produced another important program at historic John M. Hall Auditorium in Bay View Association, Petoskey, MI. Bay View produces the longest running Arts Festival in the United States. John Stakoe, Executive Director at Bay View agreed to rent a night of the “shoulder season” to Judith Moslak. He said “…better do a good job so we can invite you back. Good luck!”

Our fingers were crossed, hoping we would break even for both of these programs. How delighted we were when we were very successful at both (even though it was the day before Labor Day and there was another huge choral concert at exactly the same time)! They loved us at Bay View and we scheduled our August 21, 2013 program date before we went home!

Fall 2012 brought us Norm Logan, Conductor and Donna Swoboda, Concertmaster. Norm was so well liked as a sub, we decided to keep him permanently! During our sixth season, we reinvented the OLPS SO and performed three regular concerts: Holiday Ornaments, Spring Fling and Pops Goes the Orchestra No. 2.

In addition to this, Artistic Director Judith Moslak produced an OLPS Special Event: It’s All about the Piano! featuring Julian Gargiulo, international concert pianist and eight year old Naomi Yamaguchi, piano student of Catherine Rollin. Location was St. James Church in Novi (Pastor is Msgr. John Kasza, OLPS SO flutist and piccolo player). Norm Logan prepared the OLPS SO and Dave Daniels, retired from the Warren Symphony, conducted the expanded SO at the dress rehearsal and concert

FUNraisers were presented on:
November 11, 2006 at the new Hammel Music store in Commerce, MI ($10.00 to play or listen) Chamber music was performed including the Bach Double Violin Concerto played by a group of violin students and adult community members.

November 9, 2008 at Oakland University: 60 performers played for six hours the concerti for 2, 3 and 4 pianos by Bach, with the PCCO. The new OLPS Community Orchestra made it’s first FUNraiser appearance .

November 14, 2010 at Harrison High School featured the Bach Brandenburg Concerto #4, Mvt. 1 and selected movements from the Bach Orchestral Suite No. 2 with Ann Konopinski and Kathy Oliphant on flute and Judy Moslak on harpsichord.

The PCCO Express! (We come to you!) better known as the PCCO X was formed as an outreach concert group, specifically to perform chamber music with harpsichord or piano. This group is available to those who wish to study and perform chamber music at outreach concerts, FUNraisers, nursing homes and specifically to accompany the upcoming multiple harpsichord concerti (using the music purchased by Judy in 2003) with Martha Folts, a performing/touring Early Baroque Music Specialist, from U of M and U of Iowa faculties and Diana Munch, Early Music Specialist.

The first PCCO X concert was December 4, 2010 at the Henry Ford Hospital/West Bloomfield, where they performed the Bach Brandenburg Concerto#4 , Mvt. 1 and several movements of the Bach Orchestral Suite No. 2 and the Bach Sonata in Eb for Flute played by Ann Konopinski, flute and Judy Moslak, harpsichord The program also included the strings playing holiday songs for the enjoyment of the hospital visitors.

The PCCO X made its first appearance at John M. Hall Auditorium at Bay View Association (Petoskey, MI) on September 2, 2012, Featured on the program was the Bach Brandenburg #3 with Judy on the harpsichord, a premiere performance of “This Is Our World” (which we recorded professionally during summer 2012) written and conducted by OLPS Resident Composer Matthew Raetzel and a 40-minute organ concert by Edmund Price on the four-manual Schantz pipe organ. Future outreach concerts include a nursing home (Fox Run/Novi) and a return appearance at Hall Auditorium as part of the Bay View Association music offerings on August 21, 2013.

All of these activities illustrate the purposes and goals of the Orchard Lake Philharmonic Society (OLPS) which center around Music Education and Community Service.

Through the various Saturday Soirees, FUNraisers, OLPS Community Orchestra, OLPS Jazz Orchestra and now, the OLPS Symphony Orchestra, GRAND X and Harpsichord Adventure Projects (including Bay View), community members and students of all ages (our youngest was 8 and our oldest is 91) and abilities are given a chance to improve their skills, sometimes on a weekly basis, with many performance opportunities provided.

Students from Madonna University and OCC/Orchard Ridge campus may receive credit for playing in the orchestra by registering for the class at either school.

We have been blessed with the support of so many key people and institutions along the way. Although some original board members are no longer active, they were absolutely crucial to the formation of OLPS as we know it today. We thank all of these people and look forward to the exciting possibilities that lie ahead for OLPS and all its members, supporters and the arts community in general.

Judith Moslak
Founder, Artistic Director
Orchard Lake Philharmonic Society (OLPS)
12/28/2012
Rev. 6/17/2013